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Top competitors confirmed for RTITB Forklift Operator of the Year heats

Top competitors confirmed for RTITB Forklift Operator of the Year heats

RTITB has confirmed the top 40 worldwide forklift operators that will compete in the next round of heats for the acclaimed International Forklift Operator of the Year 2016 award.

Taking place at IMHX (International Materials Handling Exhibition) 2016 at stand 9A40 in Birmingham's NEC from 13th – 16th September, the next stage of the competition is a series of live heats where the 40 forklift drivers with the highest scores from the initial online test will compete for a place in the Grand Final.  

To test drivers on the specific knowledge needed for skilled and safe forklift operation, the live heats include specially designed assessments which operators are required to complete in front of industry experts and professionals.  

The 2016 live heats will welcome the youngest-ever finalists to qualify for the competition – Thomas Birkbeck and Craig Dawson from KP Snacks - who are both just 18 years old. Female operators will also be better represented than ever before in the contest, with Emily White, Madalina Ciobota and Samantha Tyson all qualifying to compete in the next round. 

Several of the competitors in the heats this year are employees of well-known companies, such as Travis Perkins, Wincanton, TNT UK, Hasbro, CEVA logistics, Nutricia, PPG and Clarke International. Wilko Retail UK Ltd has been particularly successful with seven employees qualifying to compete in the next round, one of which is Kris Scarborough, a former winner of the Linde Ultimate Operator Challenge. 

A truly international award, Chuck Long of US company Boise Cascade, winner of the Blue Mountain Forklift Round-Up, has also qualified for the heats alongside the winner of the RTITB Indian Forklift Driver of the Year 2015, Srinivasa N D.

“Operators of all ages and from all over the world applied to take part and we even had entries from winners of other forklift driver competitions,” says Laura Nelson, Managing Director at RTITB, the preferred workplace transport training regulatory body.  

“The International Forklift Operator of the Year award is about recognising the best of the best and showing supply chain professionals that skilled, safe, efficient forklift operators can make a huge difference to productivity and profitability within their company.” 

The live heats at IMHX will include a number of different driving tests (sponsored by Dolav, Racking & Storage Solutions Ltd and Pyroban), a theory test (sponsored by Transaid) and a pre-use inspection test (sponsored by TruckLOG - Davis Derby), all of which have been expertly designed to assess different skills in order to find the safest and most skilled forklift operator.  

All competitors will be operating UniCarriers counterbalance trucks, some featuring B&B Attachments and will be attired with suitable personal protective equipment from BACA Workwear and Safety.  

All tests will be safely contained within McCue FlexCore pedestrian safety barriers. The competition heats will be judged by experienced RTITB lift truck instructor examiners.
To enjoy the action of the RTITB International Forklift Operator of the Year 2016 live heats, visitors to IMHX can join RTITB and their sponsors at the competition zone (9A40) and support the 40 finalists:

  • Chuck Long - Boise Cascade, USA
  • Neil Jennings - Carrs Billington
  • Adam Turner - CEVA Logistics - VW Dordon
  • Paul Dainty - CEVA Logistics - VW Dordon
  • Benjamin Chamberlain - Clarke International
  • Philip Contento - Convatec
  • Jan Kontul - Diageo Global Supply 
  • Leighton Hughes - Hasbro 
  • Matthew Vassallo - Hasbro 
  • Ian John - Hasbro 
  • Thomas Birkbeck - KP Snacks
  • Craig Dawson - KP Snacks
  • Simon Bottomley - Nasaleze
  • Joe Mckeown – Nutricia
  • Peter Wells - Nutricia
  • Samantha Tyson - PPG
  • Stephen Hawkridge - PPG
  • Craig Powell - PPG
  • Daniel Smith - Sigma
  • Emily White - System Training
  • Artur Syndoman - Teva UK
  • Richard Humpage - TJX Europe
  • Ryan Reynolds - TJX Europe
  • Graham Fitter - TNT Kingsbury
  • Dale Ryder - TNT Kingsbury
  • Srinivasa N D - Toyota Kirloskar Motor, India
  • Adam Hayes - Travis Perkins
  • Kristian Sherratt - Travis Perkins
  • Phillip Padley - Wilko Retail Ltd
  • Kris Scarborough - Wilko Retail Ltd
  • Richard Dunn - Wilko Retail Ltd
  • Michael Hunt - Wilko Retail Ltd
  • Paul Collins - Wilko Retail Ltd
  • Maciej Winiecki - Wilko Retail Ltd
  • Dale Smith - Wilko Retail Ltd
  • Gary Boocock - Wincanton 
  • Madalina Ciobota - Wincanton 
  • Bobby Wilson - Wincanton 
  • Viki Bradford - Wincanton 
  • Dariusz Mocny - Wincanton 

For more information on the RTITB International Forklift Operator of the Year 2016 award, visit or follow the competition updates on Twitter @opofyear.

For more information on RTITB, visit

To register for free to attend the IMHX 2016 visit

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